Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls to be held on November 9

Chief Election Commissioner A.K. Joti is flanked by Election Commissioners O.P. Rawat (left) and Sunil Arora during a press conference at the Circuit House in Ahmedabad on October 10, 2017.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The Himachal Pradesh Assembly poll will be held in a single phase on November 9, the Election Commission announced on Thursday.

However, the electoral body did not declare the schedule for election in Gujarat, where the Assembly term is to expire on January 22 next year.

Chief Election Commissioner A.K. Joti said results for the Himachal Pradesh poll would be declared on December 18. Even though he did not announce the dates for the Assembly election in Gujarat, he said they would be held before December 18 to ensure that “the voting pattern of one State does not affect the other State.”

The term of the 68-member Himachal Pradesh Assembly ends on January 7, about 15 days ahead of the Gujarat House.

Model code in force

With the announcement of the election schedule, the model code of conduct for Himachal Pradesh comes into force immediately. It will be applicable for all the political parties and the State and the Central governments on decisions related to the State.

Mr. Joti said for the first time, 136 all-women-managed polling stations were being set up in Himachal Pradesh, with two for each constituency.

Responding to queries on why the EC did not declare the schedule for Gujarat, Mr. Joti said several factors were taken into consideration for not conducting simultaneous polls this time.

He said imposition of the model code with immediate effect would also hinder all government works, and there was no need to prolong the Himachal Pradesh election beyond the required period.

As per rules, the Commission has to complete the election process within 46 days. The Commission said it was necessary to hold the election in Himachal Pradesh in mid-November due to possible snowfall in various parts of the State later.

Besides, the Gujarat administration had requested the EC for some more time in making the arrangements as it was busy in the relief and rehabilitation work in the wake of floods in July. The State administration informed the Commission that it had to relocate 35 affected villages and that at many places, basic infrastructure like roads were badly damaged.

Refuting any anomaly, the Chief Election Commissioner said elections to the two State Assemblies were also announced and held separately in the past: 1993 and 2002.

Other factors, like festivals and availability of Central armed forces for security arrangements and transportation of election-related equipment and material, were also taken into account while deciding the schedules.

In Himachal Pradesh, which will be the second State after Goa to have polls at 7,521 stations with 100% VVPAT machines linked to the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), the last date for filing of nominations is on October 23.

The VVPAT machines of randomly selected, one polling station in each of the 68 Assembly constituencies will be tallied with EVM results.

The size of voting compartments will also be increased from 24 to 30 inches, with the introduction of VVPAT machines.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 11:47:07 PM |

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